A community activist who has devoted his life to promoting inclusion through the power of sport has received an honorary degree.

Raza Sadiq was recognised by the Open University at its annual Graduation Ceremony in the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow on Friday.

The 61-year-old is chairman and founding member of the Govanhill-based Active Life Club, which was established in 1999 to create opportunities for people to get involved in sport and civic participation.

Glasgow Times:

Beginning with badminton sessions, today the club offers a whole range of sports, including outdoor activities, to hundreds of people every year and serves diverse and disadvantaged communities across Glasgow.

Raza, who lives in Govanhill, said: “I am deeply grateful for this profound honour.

“I hope my journey will serve as an inspiration, a reminder that challenges can be overcome and that each one of you has the potential to etch your mark on the lives of others.”

Raza was born in a small village in Pakistan and studied aeronautical engineering before working in that industry for more than 10 years.

He moved to Glasgow in 1989 following his marriage, but struggled to find work and spent several years in low paid and low skill employment.

Raza then decided to return to education and gained a distinction in his higher national diploma in technology and management.

During this time, he began to build strong relationships across the Pakistani community in Glasgow and got involved in community advocacy work, helping people overcome practical challenges in healthcare, mental health and employability.

Increasingly, he started to see his future in tackling inequality and injustice, and so undertook further study at the universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde.

He gained post-graduate qualifications in careers advice, information and guidance, and management from the University of the West of Scotland.

Raza now works as a careers adviser at Skills Development Scotland.

In his acceptance speech he described his journey as spanning an “arduous 24 years” and a testament to the support of countless individuals who believed in his mission.

“My family, especially my wife and daughter, have been the pillars of strength, propelling me forward when the path seemed daunting,” he added.

“I owe a debt of gratitude to Steven Reid, a former careers consultant with The Open University in Scotland, whose support has illuminated my path.

“The Active Life Club was born with a mere £50 in the bank, without a grand vision, but today, it stands as a beacon of hope, a community hub, and a testament to the extraordinary power of dedication and social justice advocacy.”

Raza has also provided his expertise and experience on tackling racism to a whole range of other bodies.

He has served as an advisor to British Transport Police, helping them to improve policing in ways which support better relationships with different communities.

Susan Stewart, director of the Open University in Scotland, said: “Through his achievements Raza embodies the core mission and vision of the Open University – to transform lives and communities, opening a world of possibilities for everyone.

“The Open University in Scotland is delighted to recognise Raza’s contribution to sport, to young people, to the community and to inclusion.”